Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Little girl ‘sold to circus party’ a year ago rescued

A 13-year-old girl, allegedly sold off to a circus party by the chief security guard of Barisal Training and Rehabilitation Centre for Socially Disadvantaged Women and Girls (TRCSDWG) under the Social Welfare Department, was rescued on Saturday night.
The authorities concerned closed the accused security guard to Barisal social welfare office and formed a committee to investigate the matter.
Asaduzzaman, manager of the centre, said Pirojpur Sadar Police Station handed over a 10 -year-old girl to them on April 17, 2010. “As the girl went missing from the centre on November 8, 2012, I filed a general diary with Barisal Kotwali Police Station the same day,” the manager said.
The girl told journalists yesterday that Jasimuddin, chief security guard of TRCSDWG, sold her to Arun Das, owner of Royal Bengal Circus Party of Gournadi for Tk 20,000, saying that she would lead a better life there.
“Arun Das tortured me both physically and mentally many times. I searched for a way to get rid of the agony and managed to escape from the circus party Saturday morning,” the girl said.
Shahidul Islam Jewel, a human rights activist of Agorpur area under Babuganj upazila, said the girl boarded a passenger bus from a place in the upazila on Saturday morning and requested the bus conductor to drop her near Bhuterdia bus stop under the upazila. As she narrated her agonising odeal to Shamima Begum, a passenger of the bus, she took the girl to her home at Jahapur under Agorpur union under Babuganj upazila and sought help from local human right activist Shahidul Islam Jewel, who later brought the girl to Gournadi Press Club.
Being informed by local journalists, Barisal social welfare office sent a team and female Ansars led by TRCSDWG Manager Asaduzzaman to Babuganj. The team brought the victim to Barisal at night.
Mahbubul Islam , deputy director of Social Welfare Department, Barisal, said a three-member team comprising Deputy Superintendent Rosy Begum and Administrative officer Humaun Kabir of TRCSDWG and upazila social welfare officer Shahjadi Begum interrogated the victim at the centre on Saturday night.
“We have already closed the security guard Jasim to the district office. Necessary actions will be taken against him on the basis of the investigation report,” the deputy director said.
Refuting the allegations, Arun Das said he did not purchase any girl from TRCSDWG for his circus party.